Spasmodic Torticollis, also known as Cervical Dystonia is an extremely painful neurological disorder that is characterized by the involuntary contraction of neck muscles resulting in abnormal movements and awkward posture for the head and neck. The neck muscles contract involuntarily twist and tilt in various directions. The movements are either sustained (tonic) or jerky (clonic). The involuntary movements cause considerable pain and discomfort to the patients. The spasms become worse when the patient stands or walks. This makes even simple tasks difficult. The causes of spasmodic torticollis are mostly idiopathic, however, there is some contribution from genetic factors. It may also occur by itself as a result of physical trauma. It generally affects people between the ages of 25 to 55, with women being more susceptible to the condition than men. A family history of cervical dystonia or any other form of dystonia also increases susceptibility to the condition.
Diagnosis of spasmodic torticollis is generally done based on patient information, physical and neurological examinations. There are no tests to confirm the diagnosis of the condition as most tests are normal. As a result, the misdiagnosis rate is large. The condition is often misdiagnosed as arthritis, stiff neck or wryneck. Spasmodic Torticollis has no specified, permanent cure. However, there are varieties of treatments that have been tried alone, or in combination with other drugs and procedures that have shown some promising results and as a possible permanent solution to spasmodic torticollis. Though in most cases, these treatments are just used to manage the symptoms in order to provide some alleviation of discomfort to the patients. It is also important to note that in most cases of dystonia the symptoms go away with time.